Do you have a child working on spelling or studied dictation? Encourage them to use their “mental blackboards”!
Is your child working through the spelling lists in Heart of Dakota’s (HOD’s) Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory (Beyond) or Bigger Hearts for His Glory (Bigger)? Or, is your child working through the studied dictation passages in the guides that come next? Regardless of which you are using, today’s teaching tip is equally appropriate for you! So now, let’s see how children can use their “mental blackboards” to spell well!
Visualizing words on a mental blackboard is one key Charlotte Mason skill for spelling.
One of the skills we are working toward is for the child to be able to visualize words on his/her mental blackboard. Capturing the correct spelling of a word is much easier if the word really stands out in a way that the mind can quickly “capture.” Therefore, how you write the word is quite important!
Using a black marker on a white surface helps the mind “capture” the word.
Using black markers on white surfaces makes the proper spelling stand out on children’s mental blackboards. Therefore, whenever you have to write a word for your child to visualize, it is good to use a black marker on a white surface. This can be a black marker on a white index card (i.e. the spelling cards for Beyond or Bigger Hearts). Or, the same technique works for words you may desire your child to focus on within the dictation passages. Likewise, you can write these words on a whiteboard with a black marker. This way, the child can study the words prior to having the passage dictated.
Tracing difficult words using a black pencil on a white page helps students “capture” the word too.
Another technique that works is to have the child trace any difficult words within the dictation passage using his/her black pencil. Having the words outlined in black on the white page helps kiddos mentally “capture” the word on their mental blackboards too! Try these tips and see if they help your child with spelling and dictation. I know these tips have helped mine!
PS: Click here to read about how dictation helped a child who struggled with spelling improve his standardized test scores!
This Post Has 3 Comments
This is an interesting concept. Why black and not another color? I use black or dark brown for anything that is more than one or two lines on my white board, but often use a “fun” color for something short or a few words.
Good question! I like using fun marker colors too! When it comes to spelling though, black against white is the starkest contrast, and thus more easily pictured after the model is taken away. Just like an optometrist uses black and white when testing eyesight, we can use black and white to help our children visualize the spelling of words better. Many phonics programs, as well as phonics-controlled beginning readers like the BOB books, utilize this black on white concept for this very reason. Thanks for asking!
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